How Venus Williams Is Helping to Restore Nina Simone's Childhood Home

Venus Williams is looking to help restore the childhood home of a music legend. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the tennis superstar is partnering with artist Adam Pendleton to curate a benefit auction to raise money to renovate Nina Simone's home in Tyron, North Carolina. The auction will run from May 12-22 and will culminate in a gala dinner at the Pace Gallery in New York City. The goal is to raise $5 million for the Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project. 

"I'm so excited to be a part of this expansive project centering on the life and legacy of Nina Simone, who has been a huge inspiration for so many," Williams said in a statement. "Each of the artists Adam and I have selected for the auction has a unique, powerful voice, and we've been moved by their generosity and enthusiasm for this important cause. It's been a privilege to collaborate with Adam in curating the auction."  

"We're thrilled to be collaborating with this group of incredibly talented, influential artists to spotlight the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund's Nina Simone Childhood Home preservation project," Marc Glimcher, CEO of Pace Gallery, said in a statement. "The Action Fund does such crucial work in preserving sites of Black history, and we're excited to have Brent [Leggs], a leading architectural historian and preservationist, as a partner in this important initiative. At Pace, we're passionate about our artists' passions. 

"When Adam came to us with his idea for this benefit, we jumped at the opportunity. In his paintings, drawings, and other works, Adam creates spaces of engagement, often using indexical or documentary processes, and this whole project speaks to the vast scope of that vision. The determination shown by Adam, Venus, Brent, and every artist participating in this fundraiser continues to inspire me and the gallery's wider community."  

Simone, who died in 2003, recorded more than 40 albums in her career and is known for her 1958 hit "I Loves You, Porgy." She was nominated for four Grammy Awards (two posthumously) and won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2000. Simone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 and the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2021.